Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hell No, Joe

Yes, I recorded a country song. I know, ballsy maneuver for a New York liberal who voted for Obama not once but twice. County is conservative music from the Heart Land. Most of it’s listeners would despise my political beliefs and probably burn me for being a witch of some sort. They would most certainly hate my friends who are gay and work as psychics. Hell, some of my friends are even gay psychics. Other friends of mine have actually done time for stealing armored cars. On second thought, those friends they might like, that is, if the chase occurred in a pickup. I do not own a pickup, and don’t even have a license. That is why New York is ideal. Not having a license is a good thing, because if I had that pick up there would be a high speed chase happening as we speak. I don’t like stop lights, and stop lights don’t like me.

Everything started when my father and mother went to Nashville. A friend of the family, Dr. Revere, had a daughter that was getting married. My father’s bestie, Dr. Revere and my Pops spend an awful lot of time together. Dr. Revere’s daughter Erica is currently a heart doctor in Nashville, and she met her husband Brad on E Harmony. So in order to kill time in between wedding events in the city, my parents explored the town. The parental units ended up in the Country Music Museum in Nashville. During his tour, my father developed an unholy fascination with Wanda Jackson. A deep, whiskey voiced singer, she toured and dated Elvis briefly.

Calling me from Nashville, my father began singing the Rockabilly Goddess’s classic, “A Hard Headed Woman.” Then my dad suggested, “You need to do a country song, April. You would seriously be good at it.” Was my Pops insane or was he on to something? At the time I didn’t know.
Then it all happened. Enter the nefarious Joe Pussy. (Not his real name, but his real name is almost just as ghastly).

It was a cold and rainy spring day in March of 2012.  My stress level was high, and my work load over my head. At the time, I was helping to pitch a pilot, releasing I Came, I Saw, I Sang, and promoting “Stay.” Things were very busy, and so was my performance schedule. That evening, I found myself on a comedy club show downtown in a dive I don’t often frequent. Some of it is that the dive is out of my way, but mostly because I think the owner is a bigger piece of crap than most greedy comedy club entrepreneurs.

Joe entered the club. Although I had only really met him once or twice briefly, Joe and I had many of the same mutual friends so I greeted him like I would have one of them. Years before, in the early part of the millennium, Joe had been on television quite a bit as a comedian and actor. Many of the programs he was on previously had been cancelled, but he still had clout in Club Land that I didn’t. At the time, I was on television somewhere in the world at least once a week, and still am on occasion, although my bank account doesn’t quite know that.

In Diana Ross style, Joe muscled the newbie producer wet behind the ears for a spot. Weak and without backing from the club owner who curtailed to Joe’s demands, Joe was added to the already packed lineup. I was towards the back and was pushed further as were many deserving comedians. If Joe had been a woman this would have never occurred. But he’s a man, and in the New York Comedy World sexism has infected the place like consumption did long ago. It’s a disease yet to find a cure.

With an arrogant swagger, Joe went to the place the comedians usually hung out. Sitting next to me, Joe asked me what the show was like and about the crowd work of the emcee. Yes, I had not been paying attention. I was pitching a pilot in LA, and I was having the last draft of I Came, I Saw, I Sang edited. Translated, my phone was buzzing off the hook. Then mind you I was trying to get in the zone aka preparing my set. So I told Joe the truth. In a snarky tone laced with gender put down, Joe remarked, “Then perhaps this profession isn’t for you.”

I nearly choked on the irony because as I mentioned at the time I was on television much more than he had been in years. Joe had clout in the comedy club world which is still a patriarchy and would probably have the primogeniture system if it were legal. However, no one outside Comedy Club Land really cared about him so that gave me an ounce of comfort. Still, it hurt.

Joe then began talking to me once we established we knew some of the same people, and quickly softened. Maybe Joe wasn’t as egotistical and chauvinistic as some male comedians can be when it comes to a female counterpart. I have found most guy comedians who are funny are more apt to give their female compatriots a chance, and stick up for them in the gender debate. Maybe, just maybe, Joe was such an ally. Of course, my belief that he might be was strengthened when he watched my set and invited me to a diner to hang out afterward.

At the diner, we hit it off. Joe was charming, funny, and highly complimentary towards me. It was a feather in my cap because at one point he had been quite successful. Joe was no angel. He had a bad boy past which included running the streets of Brooklyn and owning a topless bar. Looking back, it all made sense because there is a certain kind of woman hate required to do that job. Not to mention he was a Virgo, and a Virgo man is the most pig headed, backwards old fashioned lout in the Zodiac. So I should have seen where this was going right then and there.

Joe made me feel comfortable though, and for the first time in forever I poured my heart out to a dude. Anyone who has seen my act, read my blogs, or has spoken to me knows one thing, my history with men is akin to the movie Saw. For me to trust a dude is like Marlee Matlin hearing, it ain’t never going to happen. Joe took pity upon my terrible luck with the male species. Little did I know that he was beginning his manipulation, and I was the perfect target. I began to fall into the web of deceit that was Joe Pussy.

After giving me a Clarke Gable-esque kiss goodnight, Joe then aggressively began to message me on facebook. He kept telling me how wonderful our time was together, and how he wanted to see me again. Joe then called me, and we talked on the phone for nearly two hours and laughed. I just remember how charming he was, and what a positive attitude he had. This was different than the jaded New York comedians I had known, and the one I had become to some extent. Joe was well-read and was passionate about history just like I was. I asked myself, what was there not to like?

Joe was now in hot pursuit, and insisted that he wanted to see me again. We spent an evening in the park that was utterly perfect. Joe said the right things at the right time, and kissed me oh so sweetly. I had told myself Joe Pussy was a spring fling and not to get carried away. I had heard about his reputation with women. However, an older actress friend of mine, Jan, informed me a spring fling was how she met her late husband Ben, who she was married to for 29 years before his death from cancer. Mind you, Jan had three broken marriages before this. Perhaps this was the case with Joe. If anything, Joe Pussy made me feel like a princess, so I was willing to overlook his atrocious nomenclature.

I felt like the evening had been magical and wanted a repeat. Joe felt likewise, and sent me a text that he had a nice time and wanted to hang out again. Then Joe sent me another text telling me the next time he saw me, he wanted to take me to his favorite hole in the wall Italian restaurant in his Brooklyn neighborhood. In order to impress my new suitor, I wore an expensive dress, a Christmas gift from White House Black Market. Off to his Brooklyn neighborhood I went to chase my love affair.

Joe fetched me from the train and immediately commented, “I really like your dress.” It made me feel good. My date liked my dress. I was elated. This was going to be a good night. Little did I know my fantasy of Mr. Joe Pussy was about to be turned upside down, and the prince was about to morph back into his ugly beast self.

Joe took me to an Italian hole in the wall alright, because as we all know Dollar Pizza technically counts as Italian food. While this took me aback, I let it go. Perhaps the pizza was good. Well Joe spent a dollar on the slice and a dollar on the soda. I am awful at math, but I can tell you he got two totally four dollars, so he spent two dollars on me. No, I am not a woman who is shallow that orders the most expensive thing on the menu, but this was certainly on the stingy end of things. In case you are wondering, the pizza was awful. Then again, bargain pizza is always a sign of what is to come.

Ignoring every blinking light there was omitting from his presence, Joe slyly asked me about my career. At the time, a program I was on had just been picked up by the OWN network, so I was on Oprah’s channel somewhat regularly. I mentioned this to Joe, and he congratulated me. In this conversation, I also mentioned my pilot, my book, and my dance single which had now charted on the internet for five whole weeks. Speaking about my career to potential boyfriends is hard for me. It has been since the days my former fiancĂ© made me choose him or the puppets. I know all too well the tyrannical, jealous side some male partners have where they believe they are God, it must be them and only them. Joe seemed to be quite proud of all I was accomplishing. I began to relax and the dollar pizza became an afterthought.

Joe then asked if I was doing any comedy gigs, and if the booker needed extra comedians. In the comedy world this is code for, “My calendar is empty and I am broke.” A red flag went up. Then I told myself it would make no sense that Joe would need to use me to get work, his calendar was probably full. Sure, it had been years since he was on television. Joe had clout with certain bookers that I didn’t. Despite the fact he wasn’t on OWN (my bank account didn’t know that either), Joe was very much a working comedian to my knowledge. I told myself to stop being paranoid. Joe was a man I could trust.

After that, the conversation shifted to Joe. He had auditioned for some film with a has been who’s name escapes my mind. Joe spoke about the film as if he was getting paid some serious dinero and even mentioned as much. (Note: I still have not found the film on IMDB). Then Joe mentioned he was hosting an internet radio show on a major underground network with a pothead trust funder who made his living making obscene balloon animals. As Joe talked, he told me the internet radio network was blowing up and they had some heavy hitter guests they were talking to. Meanwhile, when one is on internet radio they are either moving up in the world or going down like the Titanic. Maybe this was different. Either way, I liked what I heard, and my fears were assuaged.

Then Joe switched the line of questioning. He asked me if I worked a day job. I told him about the singing telegrams. I knew despite all the promise his internet radio show had, it was going to take time to pay. So I came right out and asked Joe if he in fact needed a job. There have been times I was on national television, yet I was so poor I lived off the generosity of friends, laundry money, and even food stamps. Joe assured me this was not the case, he just wanted to see which industries were taking off. Then Joe asked me how secure I was financially, and if I was set. Now the alarm bells and whistles were going off. Joe switched the line of questioning again, this time wondering if I needed a roommate. Now it was “Danger Will Robinson.” But then I told myself to calm down. Maybe Joe was seeing so much success he wanted to help me out.

Out of nowhere, as we walked to the train, Joe became quite controlling. Gone was the funny, charming man I had grown so fond of. He informed me I was walking too loud in my high heels and demanded I soften my step. As if someone who never wears the things know how to walk in them. This crazy and bizarre request hinted at an abusive streak. The bells and whistles were now nearly impossible to silence, and I didn’t like the nagging feeling I was getting in my gut.

When we parted ways, the sickening feeling I felt persisted. Then about an hour I left his company, it clicked. Joe had not been romantically interested in me in the least. He had pretended to like my act, my company, and lathered my self-esteem with compliments. Joe was using me to revive his comedy and acting career on life support. I wasn’t being paranoid, of course he was. Joe had not been on television in some time, and I was every week. I was willing to believe that Joe’s calendar was empty too. Joe had pretended he didn’t know about all I was accomplishing, but of course he did. Joe owned a television and we had enough of the same friends. My luck with men had been terrible and my self-worth tied up in my career. I might as well have had a bullseye tattooed to my head.

Yes, I was correct. Joe wanted to use me so he could ride my coattails to the top. My suspicions were further confirmed when I checked Joe’s online calendar and it was completely empty. I got further confirmation that my gut instincts were correct from a former friend of his, Victor. Apparently, Victor had gotten sick of Joe’s antics, which included seducing Victor’s sister and making the woman pay all of his bills. Victor backed up Joe’s story, that the luxury Park Slope apartment he lived in was owned by a childhood friend of theirs, and Joe lived there for discount rent. However, Joe had fallen upon hard times financially, and could not keep up with the cheap rent and the friend’s kindness was running out, aka Joe was facing eviction. On top of that, part of the deal was Joe was supposed to function as the super, but he had been inspecting the pipes of female tenants and had fallen behind on actual repairs. No wonder he needed a job and a place to live.

Joe made a big deal of wanting to see me that Easter Weekend. I knew after this discovery I could not let that happen. Joe didn’t call me Easter Weekend, and I didn’t care. While the pain still stung, I had fun hanging out with people that I actually liked during that time. However, a random link that I was tagged in with about 100 of my other facebook friends brought me to Joe’s page. A girl who looked like she aspired to work for Vivid Video posted on Joe’s wall, “Hi Joe Pussy, thanks for coming to my birthday party. My friends and I enjoyed your box of Altoids.”

Joe then replied, “Thanks for inviting me, Rachael. I had a great time. By the way, I really liked your dress.” My eyes bugged out of my head. Joe had used that line on me!!! What a cad.

Just to see who good ‘ol Rachael was I went to her facebook page. Rachael was a makeup artist and costume designer who worked on several Lionsgate films, and had even done some project with Steven Spielberg. Joe had posted several more messages on her page telling her in addition to comedy he was also an actor, and to pass this info along to directors. Oh, and he referred to her as “Beautiful” several times. It was as if salt and peroxide were poured into my gaping wound. I was beyond enraged. This man was a complete and utter bottom feeding waste of flesh, and I had nearly given him my heart.

Two weeks later, Joe texted me stating, “I have been thinking of you all week.” Meanwhile it had been two weeks since we had spoken. Joe Pussy had nearly succeeded into sucking me into his lurid manipulation, but I was going to see that he failed at this just like he currently was at show business. This was a man who made his life and livelihood out of outfoxing women, and now I was going to outfox him.

I asked Joe flat out if this was a mass text he was sending, because it was certainly vague and insincere, just like he was. Joe told me it wasn’t. Then I told Joe he was lucky I answered, because his first and second choice had other things to do so why not settle for number 3? Dick slinger the magnificent was not expecting that. So he countered by informing me that I was crazy. That is man code for he’s been busted and he knows it.

Joe was still determined. Trying desperately, because he knew he was like a swimmer fighting a current, he told me he wanted to rip my clothes off. Like I would let this potential STD risk do that? PLEASE! I told him to dream on, and that his lines sucked just like his comedy career. Then I ended the conversation with the obligatory “Eat shit and die.” Joe didn’t answer back.

Telling him off should have made me feel better, but instead it made me feel alone, unpretty, and unloved. I had never imagined being used and lied to, especially to further the career of a semi-successful shouldabeen. My friends, who are all wonderful, told me I should have been flattered that someone thought I was so successful that they were using me to get ahead. I was just plain disgusted. However, I wanted revenge and I wanted blood. Of course I was already planning to have the more successful career. But men like this disgust me, and I wanted to hit him where he really thought and felt. I wanted this failed comedian to be himself, his own worst punchline.

Then my dad’s idea popped into my head. Joe Pussy was such a turd that he deserved his own country song. Pen in hand, the words purged out onto the paper. Soon after, I found a sound engineer and recorded in a church basement in Brooklyn. The whole experience was trippy, but here I was doing this thing, driving this musical pickup truck, and having no idea what I was doing the entire time. I just had my wit, my creativity, and an axe to grind.

The recording of the song was somewhat therapeutic, and my feelings towards him softened. Perhaps I would not be as vicious as intended in the video. Well then it happened. I crossed paths with Joe Pussy. After months of not seeing him, I was in his neighborhood. It was not to stake out the manly disappointment that was he, but rather to perform ventriloquism with May Wilson on my arm. His neighborhood, Park Slope, is a popular one in Brooklyn so odds were I wouldn’t run into him. That is, until I did.

Joe was purchasing a Metro Card. He saw me and decided to give me the big hello, as if he had the right to speak to me after all he had done. There was a part of me that wondered if I should say hello, and make peace with this pretender that used me. Then the voice inside my head, the one that tends to make a lot of sense that I don’t listen to as much as I should, told me to keep going. It said, “April, there is no new information to be gained and you are not going to get what you want from this exchange.”

That is when I decided to keep walking. Joe then screamed, “So that’s the way it’s going to be, huh?!” From his response, I knew I had done the right thing and kept on going.

Now his fragile male ego had been injured by a woman. Joe was not going down without a fight. Seething with animosity, because how dare I reject him, Joe yelled, “You know what. I feel very sorry for you right now!!!!!”

As I put some pep in my step, the whole thing appeared funny to me. How often was he the one walking away and some woman he played screamed at him? Probably all the time. Now he was getting a taste of his own medicine and didn’t like it. That’s when I decided that when I made the video, I would go for the gusto.

Of course the song release and video were delayed because releasing a book was more work than I thought it was going to be. While the pilot I was pitching that go around didn’t get picked up, other projects relating to my book then came into the works. Thus Hell No, Joe fell onto the back burner.

After visiting my sister Skipper in Nashville, I decided the song had to be released, video and all. So when things calmed down this past year, I shot the video with Dave Harris directing me and editing painstakingly. Heather his wife was also a great deal of help. My assistant Julien Prevost was perhaps the thing that kept me from losing my mind the most as I turned into a yelling, screaming Lady Hitchcock.

So now I am releasing a country song. Like all adventures I am thrust into, this will have an outcome that will make me more learned and perhaps might even touch a few people. In the end, I hope it helps some women gain confidence, that they don’t have to be victim to a womanizer. I also hope that it makes those Joe’s out there realize that I have their number, and will be looking for them. Of course, the good guys can join the fight against the Joe’s. We don’t talk enough about the good guys.

In any event, that’s my story and I am sticking to it. Move over Taylor Swift. I am the ex from #HellNoJoe.

Check out my roasting of Joe in the link below


No comments:

Post a Comment